LATHROP, Mo. -- While visiting with farmers in LAthrop, Mo., today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making more than $17 million in grants available under the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Vilsack also described recent initiatives, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, designed to help producers and keep farmers on the land.
"This program underscores President Obama's commitment to support the nation's beginning farmers and ranchers," Vilsack said. "Through the beginning farmer and rancher grant program, we can help ensure that we are doing all we can for the next generation of America's farmers and ranchers."
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers -specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or less. Congress authorized the FY 2009 funding for this program in the 2008 Farm Bill, with another $19 million in mandatory funding for FY 2010. Under the program, USDA will make grants available to state, local, tribal, regional, non-profits, community based organizations, academic institutions, and networks of appropriate private and public organizations to design programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.
The projects will be limited to 3 years. Budget requests in the proposals, which are due May 13, 2009, must not exceed $250,000 per year. USDA is looking for proposals from these areas:
Vilsack also discussed recent USDA initiatives to help producers and to reinvest in rural communities. In March alone, Vilsack announced the:
In addition, Vilsack also discussed how the ARRA will revitalize rural communities. Under the stimulus bill, $2.5 billion will be invested in broadband for rural, underserved communities and to date, nearly $180 million has been disbursed to farmers for direct operating loans.